How to Delete Themes from WordPress: Various Removal Options

  1. Why do you need to delete themes from WordPress?
  2. Things to do before you remove theme from WordPress
  3. How to remove WordPress theme completely
    1. Through a WordPress dashboard
    2. Through FTP manager
    3. Using hosting and file management website manager
  4. How to update an existing theme
  5. Reinstall theme in WordPress
  6. How to delete all WP content and start over

Optimization: modification of a system to improve its effectiveness. This is the main reason to do the procedure, which will be discussed in this article.

WordPress platform is used by 35.2% of all sites on the internet. They would not have achieved such status if not for the ease of use and the high numbers of satisfied users. Despite the fact that the steps are quite simple, hundreds of search requests appear every month on Google and other web search engines with the text “How to delete themes from WordPress, what should I do?” We will tell you everything in detail that is needed to accomplish this task.

How to delete themes from WordPress.

Why do you need to delete themes from WordPress?

WordPress developers offer many templates for website design. For a WordPress site, you can install a large number of different themes, although only one of them will be active at a time. If you were in search of some specific options while you studied the various themes available, you probably installed a few of them on your site. As a result, a significant number of unnecessary folders have accumulated on your internet resource. All this mass takes up a lot of space on a hard drive and might eventually force you to switch to a more expensive plan with your hosting provider.

If you have already decided on the final visual design of your internet resource, themes that you once considered have now become unnecessary and they can be deleted to save disk space. Otherwise, they occupy too much space of the site on the server. In addition, some poorly designed themes may have security issues and provide a gateway to hacker attacks. Therefore, for security reasons, unused themes should be deleted, reducing the risk of hacking on your site.

Things to do before you remove theme from WordPress

There are a few things you should always do to ensure safe removal. It is imperative that you keep a backup copy of WordPress when making any major changes, especially when you delete WordPress themes (this tip should also be taken into account when changing themes, installing plugins, or importing/exporting data). Before activating a new WordPress theme, be sure to check out the preview to see how it displays on your website.

WordPress allows you to install and familiarize yourself with a theme without activating it. Install the desired theme and click on the Live Preview button below it. While in preview mode, pay attention to those aspects in which the new theme makes changes. Browse the homepage, individual posts, pages, and archives. Try to notice how the new theme displays differently. Now you need to decide whether you will be able to easily set up a new variant after the removal of the existing theme. You can set it up to preserve the functions of your former site that you want to leave. A backup will always be great reinsurance.

How to remove WordPress theme completely

In order to get rid of unnecessary templates, there are three ways you can go about it. Let’s look at these options. The first is the easiest and fastest.

1. Through a WordPress dashboard

Yes, you can remove WordPress theme at the same place where you installed it =). I am sure that you have already looked for the “Delete” button there.

First of all, you need to go to your Admin dashboard. If you are working on a local web server (using a real server simulator for work), then do not forget to run it.

In case you already have a hosting location, place your project there. Any problems? Do not forget to check your internet connection.

Having logged in on the website, in the admin menu find “Appearance >> Themes.”

On the screen that opens, with a list of all your themes, move the mouse cursor over the one you want to get rid of.

Click on the picture of the theme and go to its description. In this window, you can see how this will look on the site. This button can be safely used; it is intended only for your review, so visitors will not see the changes.

In the lower right corner of the screen, you will see the “Delete” button.

Now all you have to do to remove the theme is to click on this button, after which the required theme will be deleted from the hard drive and from the admin panel of your site.

If you did all of the above, but did not find the “Delete” button, check to see if the theme that you have selected is active, because active variants cannot be deleted.

In order to remove a theme from WordPress that is active, you must first deactivate it by choosing another theme to be active. Only then will the "Delete" button will appear on the deactivated theme.

2. Through FTP manager

If it does not work through WordPress admin panel, you can remove theme from WordPress using FTP manager.

You will need an FTP client installed on your computer. FTP is File Transfer Protocol. Using this protocol, a connection is made to the server by sending a username and password, after connecting to which you are able to download/upload or delete files of various contents (documents, pictures, videos).

There are situations when a theme cannot be deleted through the admin panel. The files may have been corrupted due to a failed update or for another reason. In this case, the removal can be done using this manager. This method is also convenient to use if you need to remove not one or two, but a large number of themes.

  • Establish a connection to the server using the credentials issued to you by your hosting provider.
  • In the directory of your website, go to the /wp-content folder and find the themes subfolder in it.
  • Inside the themes folder, directories with all installed themes are stored. Select unnecessary themes and delete folders with their names.


We recommend that you watch the detailed video “WordPress: How to Delete WordPress Theme,” where it may be more convenient for you to understand the information.

WordPress. How To Delete WordPress Theme

3. Using hosting and file management website manager

The process of deleting through hosting is not much different from the previous variant. The only difference is that you need to go to your admin panel on the server and there can be many options (Vesta CP, ISP Manager, Ajenti, cPanel, Plesk Panel, and others).

The essence remains the same. You need to find the “/themes” folder in the above directory and delete unnecessary themes. You need to know what theme you have installed and delete any unnecessary folders by right-clicking and selecting the delete action. Do not forget to remove all plugins that are related to them.

The success of your WordPress website depends on the hosting plan you use. If you already use GoDaddy hosting, then you can use it for your site. If you want to try a different hosting, we recommend Bluehost, which is an official partner of WordPress and one of the largest hosting companies in the world.

Remember that every WordPress installation actually uses a database (if you delete everything completely). So, you will need to make sure that you also delete the database. So go back to your cPanel (for example) hosting and find your MySQL databases. This will bring up a screen that allows you to create or destroy any existing databases. In this case, all you have to do is click the “Delete” button and your site will disappear forever. (Remember to have a backup just in case!)

How to update an existing theme

Templates for some themes are regularly updated. The creators of the popular ones are constantly working to improve them, trying from time to time to please users with fresh releases. If for some reason you cannot update the theme, you need to reinstall it (but we will talk about this a bit later). To do this, you can first delete the template, and then reinstall it from the official repository or from the developer's site.

This process, in principle, is somewhat similar to updating a WordPress system. You will also need to make a backup here, and the update itself can be done either manually via FTP or directly in the admin panel. You will find complete information about the latest available versions in the corresponding section of the Admin panel. All types of updates are tracked here: plugins, WordPress system, themes, and templates. In fact, in one place you can solve any issues related to updating the functionality of the website. It is very convenient.

It is necessary to consider:

  • Despite the fact that updating WordPress themes in most situations affects the database less noticeable than updating the core of the system, you should still make a backup just in case. Moreover, save the database and the site files.
  • The system cannot track versions of solutions that are distributed outside the official repository.

The question is how to update the theme in WordPress and whether it should be done at all. Users ask this much less often because the activity of theme developers is less. Some variants do not change throughout their existence, although this is not entirely correct. On the other hand, users can always install a different design, especially since they appear regularly.

Go to the admin section “Appearance - Themes” item. If a new version of the theme is available, you will see a message on the page. After that, you can click on the link to "Update Now" or point to a screenshot and select "Information about the theme." In the second case, a popup window with a description of the layout will open.

Again, here you can select the “Update Now” link or download information about the theme from the official website.

By the way, if you need to start updating WordPress themes for the current template, we recommend that you first replace the active theme of the site with another one. After the update, return the previous theme, but with the current version.


Reinstall theme in WordPress

You can reinstall the theme if for some reason you cannot update it. First, you need to delete the theme, according to one of the above options. The task is similar to working as with an update, so it makes no sense to describe it in detail. We will only give a brief explanation on how to reinstall the WordPress theme manually:

  1. Download the archive theme to the computer and unzip it.
  2. Using the FTP client, go to the hosting of your web project in the wp-content/themes directory where all the designs are located.
  3. Copy the folder with the new theme on top of the old one on FTP. When transferring data, the program will notify you that the files will be overwritten.
  4. Go back to the “Appearance” section, to  the “Themes” item and activate the newly updated one.

In addition, do not forget to test all the elements and base pages of the website to check your theme after reinstalling it.

How to delete all WP content and start over

Deleting all website content may be necessary, for example, if you are testing themes and you need to remove everything. After all, testing new themes and plugins on an empty site is much easier. That way you can return to the default settings, while not having to completely reinstall WordPress.

Use a special plugin from the official repository. A plugin called WordPress Database Reset can be installed directly from the admin panel of your website.

Database Reset
Database Reset
Developer: WebFactory Ltd
Price: Free

To do this, go to the “Plugins >> Add New section.”

In order to find the required WordPress Database Reset plugin, use the Search feature. Then click the “Install” button.

Next, activate it using the appropriate button.

After activating the plugin, you do not need any additional settings for it. You can immediately start using it. In order to restore the original WordPress settings, go to “Tools >> Database Reset.

Please note that with this method you will lose all the settings in your system. Therefore, once again, we strongly recommend that you make a copy.

Gathering unnecessary themes over time, you can assume that the time will come and you might have to remove some obsolete themes. Thus, you are setting yourself up for failure and trouble. It is like with clothes: clinging to things that no longer serve you, you cling to principles and ideas that no longer serve you. The digital world does not stand still, it moves forward every single day.

Only forward! Just follow the pointers above. Therefore, we recommend that you browse through the very large volume article from our blog: Top 10 WordPress Themes for 2020. Choose your corporate identity and promote it. May you get some inspiration and ideas!

Would you like to bring changes to your WordPress blog or revamp it completely? See how to delete a WordPress blog step-by-step.

Read Also

How to Delete a WordPress Blog?

How to Unpublish a WordPress Site: A Step-by-Step Guide

Is WordPress Down? Check These Things To Get The Answer

WordPress Copy Page


The writer could change the world with a word. I don't pretend I really change the world but if you found my articles useful - I will be really glad.

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